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Julia Shappert | Official Blog

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July 2015

50 Thoughts Every Person with Social Anxiety Experiences at an Event

If there was one thing I would change about myself, it would be eliminating my social anxiety. Every now and then, I enjoy catching up and spending time with friends. However, curling up in my room while journaling or surfing the web is always the more comfortable option for me than trying to make small talk with others.

Here is a more-or-less exaggerated (slightly-silly) scenario of what goes through a person’s mind when they experience social anxiety at a larger social function.

1.) I really don’t want to go to (insert party/event/gathering).

2.) But, there will be free food…

3.) That attractive guy might be there….

4.) Oh, but my bed and Netflix are so heavenly!!!

5.) Maybe, I’ll just slip in for 10 minutes, get my food, and leave.

6.) Yes, that sounds like a plan. *Goes into ninja mode*

7.) Gah, I don’t want to dress up!!! Pajammas are acceptable, right?

8.) No, I should wear that pretty dress in case attractive guy is there.

9.) Do I really NEED makeup? I’ll only be there for 10 minutes….

10.) Okay, I’m ready!!! Not really, but….

11.) WHY AM I SWEATING SO MUCH???

12.) Alright, so far I don’t recognize anyone….good because I really don’t want to talk to ANYBODY.

13.) I feel like I’m being watched and it’s REALLY freaking me out.

14.) OMGosh attractive guy is HERE!!!! Act natural…..

15.) Dang it, I look SOOO socially awkward. He’ll never ask me out.

16.) Okay, where’s the food, where’s the food???

17.) I really don’t want to look like a pig eating all these cookies and chips. NOBODY JUDGE ME!

18.) GASP, I see people I know….Don’t make eye contact!!!

19.) I love them, but I’m just NOT in the mood to talk. I hope they didn’t notice me avoiding them.

20.) I think I have a better relationship with food than people. That’s really sad.

21.) What’s wrong with me???

22.) There is literally NOTHING to do here expect for talking to people. I think I’ll just stick with eating.

23.) How long does this event last for anyways?

24.) I think I will go to the bathroom for a while.

25.) *Looks in the restroom mirror* I look like I just saw a ghost while running a marathon.

26.) Okay, I came, I ate, I conquered. Time to leave!

27.) Is it wrong for me to feel happy about this?

28.) I AM  mentally drained and tired.

29.) Okay, the coast is clear….RUN.

30.) Well, don’t RUN, but walk out quickly and with purpose.

31.) I’m almost out the door! Freedom at last!

32.) SOMEONE JUST CALLED MY NAME.

33.) I can’t just look like I’m avoiding the world. Okay, I’ll talk for a little bit.

34.) I hate small talk that lasts forever….I don’t do small talk.

35.) I could be doing a lot more productive things right now.

36.) Wait, I think she/he is wrapping up the story.

37.) THERE IS A SILENT PAUSE.

38.) Whew, NOW I can say it’s time for me to leave.

39.) WHY do people always have to ask WHY I’m leaving??? It’s none of their business.

40.) I just want to stay in my bedroom and enjoy some alone time and peace.

41.) I don’t want to stay longer. I’ve already stayed 30+ minutes longer than I intended.

42.) Fine. I’ll stay for 10 more minutes. Then I’m leaving for real. I’m only doing this for you because I love you.

43.) Wait, where did all these other friends come from???

44.) I think I’m going to faint from social exhaustion.

45.) People are starting to leave! I guess the gathering is nearly over!

46.) YES, I FEEL SO RELIEVED! ALLELUIA!

47.) I’m almost home! YAY!

48.) Whew, that was a long event.

49.) It WAS good to talk with my friends, though.

50.) Maybe I’ll just curl up in a ball and go to sleep now.

 

What other thoughts go through YOUR mind when you experience social anxiety?

Julia

 

 

Delicious Homemade Personal Pizza

While the family went into town, I was home alone for lunch and needed to think up something to fill my grumbling tummy. So, I searched the pantries and refrigerator. A little bit of flour, sugar, yeast, olive oil….how about a personal cheese pizza?! What a great idea!

I LOVE homemade pizza. This was my first time making a smaller version of the full recipe that feeds my family. Boy, it was good and filling. Compared to most pizza chains, I find that homemade pizza has relatively little grease or added sugar.

It only takes about an hour to make from start to finish. It’s simple to make at home or college if you have a kitchen with an oven. I think you’ll really enjoy it! Plus, preparing your own food makes you more aware of what goes into your body AND it’s cheaper that buying a whole pie from a restaurant.

The finished product! Yum!

Dough recipe:

  • 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 3/4 c. unbleached bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp. virgin olive oil

Other ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
  • Spices and other toppings (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water (I put the water in the microwave for about half a minute). Stir until milky substance.
  2. Add oil and 1/2 cup of the flour. The mixture will begin to shape. Add remaining flour and knead until the dough is consistent and non-sticky.
  3. Let rise in lightly-warm oven for about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn dough out onto a greased, lightly floured pizza pan and roll into a rounded shape. Preheat oven for 375 degrees F. Poke holes all over the dough with a fork. Add sauce and desired toppings.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

And, voila! You have yourself an indulging, satisfying meal.

WIN_20150714_122127

Below are the nutrition facts for the entire pizza using MyFitnessPal. Nutritional information might vary depending on tomato sauce brand, toppings, etc. This nutritional information is for an entire plain cheese pizza.

Delicious Personal Cheese Pizza Nutritional Information

Take care!

Julia

Questions to Ask a Potential College Roommate.

For my freshman year of college, I was so nervous about whom I would room with and whether we’d get along. Luckily, I was blessed with an amazing young lady to room with! We met each other during a spring welcome bash for high school seniors, communicated with each other via Facebook during the summer, and signed paperwork to be freshman roommates before the fall semester.

Your dorm is basically your home-away-from-home. It should be livable, comfortable, and welcoming. Part of that equation is having an awesome roommate to accompany you (unless, of course, you are one of the lucky few who gets a dorm all to yourself). So, a roommate can truly make or break your college-living experience. Whether you’re looking for a compatible roommate or already have someone in mind, these vital questions will give you both insight about whether rooming together is a good idea. The more you have in common, the easier living together will be.

1.) Are you a morning person or night owl? It won’t do anyone much good if one of you is trying to sleep and the other is watching Netflix at 2AM.

2.) How organized or messy would you consider yourself? If you consider yourself a  neat freak, a sloppy roommate will give you a heart attack. 

3.) Do you plan on studying mostly in the dorm? If so, your dorm should be a sanctuary of silence and concentration.

4.) What music do you like listening to? Classical and punk rock don’t really jive together.

5.) Do you see the dorm as a social space or a private place? Unless you set specific days and times for socialization in your room, it will be hard to find that middle ground.

6.) Do you like to party? This one is pretty straight-forward.

7.) Do you smoke? Technically, smoking isn’t allowed period in the dorms or at all on smoke-free campuses. Just saying.

8.) Outgoing or introverted? You don’t want a roommate who talks your head off if you want peace and quiet; or one who would rather not talk at all when you must converse with someone. It gets awkward and frustrating.

9.) Does music or silence help you study? Keeping in mind that both of your do homework in your dorm, having similar study habits will be extremely helpful.

10.) Do you snore? There’s nothing wrong about snoring if you can both sleep through it. If not, this could be an issue.

11.) What time do you see yourself waking up and going to bed around? Being on a similar schedule with your roommate keeps away any early-morning or late-evening surprises. 

12.) What larger appliances are you intending on bringing (TV, refrigerator, vacuum, etc.)? There is no need to bring two of everything. You can learn to share. Plus, your dorm room only has so much floor space.

13.) What are some of your pet peeves? It’s good to cover what gets on their nerves and how to prevent those things from happening.

14.) How often will you go home on the weekends? This isn’t a deal-breaker question, but it can give you insight about how often you’ll have the dorm to yourself…which could  either be reliving or depressing for you.

15.) What are your likes, interests, passions, concerns, etc.? Like I’ve mentioned several times before, having many commonalities will help you two keep the peace and get along well.

16.) Do you have a boyfriend? If so, how often and how long will he visit? Am I going to be kicked out of the dorm during those times?

17.) What student life organizations to do you see yourself participating in? It would just be nice to know if you’re interested in the same activities.

18.) How do you feeling about sharing things? Yes, you may share my fridge. No, you may not eat my ice cream.

19.) What are some ground rules we need to set as roommates? Forming rules creates boundaries and routine for both parties to follow. What chores is each person responsible for? What time is “lights out”? When can friends come over?

20.) Is there anything else I should know about you that would be important for me to know as a roommate? Are you scared of the dark? Allergic to any foods or medications? Do you own a car? Any health conditions?

21.) What classes are you taking? Roommates that study together, stay together.

This list will be your best friend for selecting an awesome roommate! Best of luck.

Julia

Eating Disorder Update: Finding Inner Happiness

This past Saturday, I volunteered at my local food pantry. Interacting with the people who shop for food for their families is truly heartwarming.

It’s been a few weeks since my last eating disorder update, but I have nothing but good things to say. Great news: I haven’t binged at all! Yay! This is really a step forward in my health and wellness. I’ve been eating nutritious foods and craving the not-so-healthy ones less.

I’d also like to add that I’ve been incorporating little treats here and there so I don’t deprive myself of the sugary and salty goodness that I like to eat occasionally. When my family and I went shopping at the mall, I allowed myself a cup of frozen yogurt. Before dropping my younger sister off at camp, we ate hand-scooped Velvet ice cream at the local factory in Utica, Ohio. For several of my post-work out meals, I’ll have a serving of wheat crackers (a tempting food for me) with my eggs and fresh fruit.

My first time eating a Larabar! Yum!

Most recently, I picked up a “Cashew Cookie” Larabar from the grocery store on my way home from the food pantry. It was a little piece of Heaven in my mouth and definitely hit the spot! Larabars are my new obsession.

I saw my counselor Katie last Thursday and the session was great. She weighed me at 123.2 pounds. My heaviest this past summer was 129.2 pounds. So, even though my patience is constantly tested with this natural weight loss process, it’s an unbelievable feeling that I’ve hardly done anything to become 6 pounds lighter. I am eating more (1800 calories vs. 1200 calories), exercising less (45 minutes/day vs. 1.5 hours/day), and intuitively listening to my body’s hunger cues.

I am also happier as a person. I tell you, it’s draining to constantly look at yourself in the mirror and think that you aren’t good enough. No, I’m not where I’d like to be physically, but I’m getting there! There’s so much more to my life than weight. As Katie has been telling me, numbers on the scale should not label who I am. I haven’t fully accepted this fact, but I’m beginning to tolerate and respect it.

With that being said, I have stopped weighing myself on the scale – not by my own will, though. I know, however, it’s best that I don’t weigh myself frequently in the event that my self esteem plummets. I get to see Katie one last time before starting my junior year of college, which is slightly terrifying me. I feel like I’m the baby bird leaving the nest but haven’t fully learned how to fly on my own. I may never know how to fly safely all the time. But, that won’t stop me from trying.

I don’t have to burn 1000 calories on the treadmill, eat rabbit food, or weigh myself constantly anymore…I don’t feel that anorexic desire I had a year ago. It’s incredibly freeing. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t feel the need to eat 2 bowls of chips or 8 cookies.

I no longer feel trapped in my own addiction and affliction. I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far!

Keep pushing forward,

Julia

10 Simple Ways to Bring Joy into Your Life.

Are you having one of those days where you’re just not content with your life? We all experience bad days now and again. Work can be stressful and knock you down. Sometimes, you’re self esteem plummets for whatever reason. Your neighbors bought the latest car and you’re feeling mighty envious. Relationships can get tense…..so on and so forth.

Whether you feel ungrateful, depressed, anxious, or sad, I’ve compiled a number of simple methods to help you realize how much you have to be thankful for and boost your happiness!

  1. Count your blessings. It can be easy to envy the possessions and accomplishments of others while undermining what we have in our own lives.  Here’s the thing: Happiness isn’t accumulated by more money or prestige. I would die happily knowing that I spent ample time loving my family and participating in my faith – not possessing a large house, the latest clothing trends, or driving the slickest car. I won’t be thinking, “I should have gotten that 100″ flat-screen plasma TV for the living room.” I will be thinking of meeting my Father in Heaven, which is greater than any reward on earth. With that in mind, find a quite place, take a pencil and paper, and write down absolutely everything that you are grateful for today (food, water, shelter, employment, clothing, friends, family, pets, hobbies, love, freedom, talents, etc.).
  2. Surround yourself by people you love. Love is found in people – not things. Step away from the electronics and engage in face-to-face interaction with friends and family that you care about. Go for a walk, discuss life over lunch, play board games, or walk in the park. The internet can be loaded with negativity. Create some positivity in your life by laughing and loving those you love. Experience love and life – not a virtual reality that you can’t wrap your arms around.

3. Exercise. Get rid of all that tension by pumping your heart full of blood. Sweating rids your body of toxins and releases endorphins, which will brighten your mood. Physical activity can lower anxiety levels, improve sleep, tone muscles, and raise self esteem. Get active!

4. Wear clothes you like that fit you. If you are feeling body-conscious like me, you first and foremost need to toss out any clothes that don’t fit you/don’t make you feel confident. Don’t say you’ll lose the weight and eventually fit into those jeans….”eventually” is not “now”. You need to feel great today – not a couple months from now. So, buy clothes that make you feel like a million bucks. I’m not suggesting that you splurge all your money or give up on becoming a healthier person. But, losing weight takes time. You need to feel happy and confident no matter what you’re size.

5. Get involved in your community. If you are focusing your energy on yourself, get out into the community and serve those less fortunate than you. It’s eye opening to witness what we take for granted causing abundant joy to others. Volunteer at a food pantry, soup kitchen, clothing drive, nursing home, etc.

6. Journal. Silence brings clarity. When you aren’t in the mood to talk with anyone, a journal can be your best friend. Write about your burdens, struggles, and inner thoughts. List your questions and concerns. When you’re done, read over what you’ve written and reflect. Getting your emotions out on paper feels so relieving.

7. Take small naps. Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do at a given moment is sleep. Those 10 minutes spent resting and rejuvenating your body look a lot more effective than the same 10 minutes trying to keep your eyelids open while completing your work. You’ll be grateful for those extra minutes of snoozing.

8. Find a hobby. Play the guitar, sing, dance, get artsy, blog, or exercise. Schedule out some leisure time in your daily routine for yourself.

9. Eat nutritious meals. A Pop-Tart and cinnamon roll might look appetizing for breakfast, but are those frankenfoods going to deliver the nutrients you need to live healthfully? Think again. Do your body a favor by filling it up with nutrient-dense fruits, whole grains, protein, dairy, and veggies. I could spend numerous articles and give a thousand reasons why eating right is good for you. In fact, there really aren’t any bad effects to eating healthfully. You’ll feel fuller longer and feel great in the long run. Trust me!

10. Participate in your faith. Spirituality brings deep perspective and purpose into your life. Step away from noise in this world yelling at you to look a certain way and act a certain way. Attending church service, reading spiritual books, prayer, and wholesome music will redirect your life in a direction full of passion and purpose.  

Remember, happiness is only a feeling. Like all others feelings, it comes and goes. But, you can live a life with joy because God endows us with that gift. Be grateful for each day you are alive!

Julia

Top Tips for a Stress-Free School Year: College Edition

Summer is breezing by, which means there are a couple months left before school is in session. Vacation and free time are great, but you can also make the most of your summer by preparing for the upcoming school year. Here are my top tips for an awesome, stress-free back-to-school experience.

Excel1.) Create a schedule with all your classes, work hours, and extracurricular activities. I use Excel spreadsheets to form my weekly schedule. CollegeRuled, myEdu, and GradeTracker also offer free class scheduling tools. This will give you an at-a-glance view of what a fixed week looks like. You’ll also be able to spot any free periods in your day for socializing or studying.

2.) Make a list of everything you need to buy prior to moving back to college. My biggest piece of advice is this: Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping for school! Getting as much as you can in advance will save you time and stress. I know it sounds simple in theory, but putting it into practice is harder than it seems. The list piles up quickly when considering school supplies, dorm needs, clothing, etc. Shop early so the chances of you forgetting something down the road are slim.

3.) Figure out the books you’ll need for your courses! Assuming you know what courses you’ll be taking next semester, you should contact your teachers/professors or look up your college’s bookstore website and complete an in-depth search of the textbooks you’ll need. I try at all costs not to buy my textbooks from the bookstore since they tend to be more expensive. Go to Slugbooks.com to compare different carriers that have the textbooks you need. It really helps with finding the best bang for your buck when it comes to books!

4.) Know your dorm and your roommate(s) ahead of time. If you’re in college and living with roommates, brainstorm together ahead of time about your future living quarters. You’re probably not going to need two refrigerators, two TVs, or two vacuum cleaners. Make a plan on who is going to bring what. Decide who is sleeping where. Get to know each other so move-in day isn’t awkward.

5.) Look for scholarships NOW! Free money is truly glorious – especially when it comes to hefty college payments. It’s never too late to start perusing various scholarship search engines. See what scholarships are offered through your school, community, or state. Keep in mind that you have a better shot at winning a scholarship in your local area than a $1,000 no-essay, no-GPA required web-based one that hundreds of applicants enter.

6.) Update your resume! If you’ve had any recent summer jobs, internships, leadership trainings, summer classes, or volunteering opportunities, don’t forget to add these experiences to your resume.

7.) Review over any course material that you might struggle with. For example, if you are scared about taking College Algebra, master the basic concepts now. Look over past notes in high school, watch lessons on YouTube or Khan Academy, or (if you’re lucky enough to get textbooks in advance) skim over books you’ll be using for the upcoming class to familiarize yourself with the content.

Don’t dread school. Learning is a wonderful gift! Hopefully, some of these tips will put your mind at ease for a more prepared educational experience. Take care!

Julia

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